Consumer Rights-5 Random Facts

Without a preamble, I will launch into 5 random facts about consumer issues: 🙂

1. Ever thought campaigning against banks that overcharge you in name of penalty charges, watch this interesting video called The Whistle Blowers:

2. Okay, so you have read about several children falling off in main holes, some being killed due to heavy iron gates of colonies falling on them. It is chargeable under consumer courts as negligence of civic authorities and resident welfares since it is their responsibility to maintain main holes and gates. True, you can not bring a child back by filing a case but you can save other children by making these civic bodies sit up.

3. Did you know that you are entitled to refund or change even if the bill for the defective product you purchased has “No guarantee” written over it. The consumer court rules that writing “no guarantee” on bill does not mean anything because bill is provided after a purchase is made. Rather, the seller should make the defect implicitly clear to the purchaser before the latter decides to buy it.

4. How well do you read the fine print when buying a credit card or do you know what to look for in a label while buying a cloth? Even the sales guys at fabric stores are not well aware about the products they are selling. You could start with this awareness.

5. Recent Nokia recall of BL-5C battery is perhaps the first recall that Indian has recognized on such a large scale. In other countries, such recalls are common place. People refer to them when buying a product, first-hand or second-hand. In the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) works with the industry to ensure the safety of consumer products. It has toll free numbers where consumers call to report product-related accidents and injuries. CPSC makes it mandatory for the manufactures to report any complaint or information in its knowledge that could jeopardise consumer safety. Failure to do so invites legal action. On the basis of these reports and investigations, CPSC asks the manufacturers to recall the product. In India, we do not have any such body. There is no such product liability law. Can’t we do with them?

10 Responses to “Consumer Rights-5 Random Facts”

  1. 1 ish September 16, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    Wow, I didn’t know about number 3. A lot of shopkeepers, especially the ones selling clothes don’t replace clothes when they know very well that they’re usually defective. Sometimes, I’ve seen them selling cheap brands which have their names common to Levi’s and all. Just last month, I had decided to buy myself a pair of Converse All Star shoes. I went around the city and found that the shoes cost something around Rs. 1400. Then I went to another shop and the shoes costed Rs. 350 there. I asked the person if they were fake and he said that they weren’t. I didn’t believe him and bought the Rs. 1400 ones but my friend bought the Rs. 300 ones. The sole of the shoe broke in the first cricket match he played and these shoes are expected to be immensely sturdy. When we took the shoe back to the shopkeeper, he said that he didn’t sell them. We showed him the bill and told him that he was trying to fool us. Then my friend threatened to take him to the court and that’s when he confessed that the shoes were fake and returned the money.

    Another time we were having a dinner at one of the expensive restaurants and we found a hair in our sizzler. If I were alone, I would only have talked to them but there was another friend here. His father owns some nationwide stores chain. So he knew well about all the consumer rights because these guys face it every other day. He called the manager and we didn’t pay for the sizzler and got a chocolate truffle for free! 😀

    The Nokia battery replacement wasn’t a very clean job actually. I saw many shopkeepers who refused to give the people new batteries and sent them to the Nokia Care where they would send them back. Mostly people had to buy their own new batteries and because they don’t cost a fortune, most people didn’t bother about complaining against the Nokia people.

  2. 2 Whatever. September 16, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    consumerism is going to kill you soon!!

    trust me!!!

  3. 3 Poonam Sharma September 16, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Ish, that is true that nokia battery replacement did not work for many. In fact, nokia does not even call it a recall, it calls it product advisory. It is sad that in a country where battery has burst and endangered consumer safety, recall is not happening as it happens in europe.

    There is much more that can be done with consumer rights..wish we could get more out of it.

    @whatever, there is more most that should come about this issue…not gonna get killed till den 😛

  4. 4 rameshindiatimes September 16, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    I feel that instead of anymore law for the cause, we need the implementation of existing laws with soul and heart. India is a country of “Rich laws” with “Poor Execution”.

    If you want the Indian companies (or, foreign company’s Indian operation) to be as efficient as in developed country, provide them with so strong legal infrastructure.

    The companies must have the autonomy to hire and fire. Why do we have so stringent laws – in favour of labours – which creates an environment in which the company can’t even enforce minimum efficiency level for the employees. Why can’t they abandon an employee if he/she plays cards on the shop floor instead of working.

    Do you favour company, as a consumer of services from its employees, here?……..(if not ) why?

    Do we protect companies with adequate property laws and implementation of existing laws? Have we ever considered seriously, to implement any such law which prevent the consumers from infringing property rights from the company. If not; why do we expect them to provide better service, while eating up their share of profit by laggard attitude to such issues.

    The point I am trying to make is nothing can be looked at in isolation. Consumer protection might not been an issue at all had we taken care of these issues effectively and if we know that we can’t implement laws effectively, there is no point making a new consumer protection law and leaving that in the shelf as another show piece.

  5. 5 Pawan Joshi September 17, 2007 at 7:27 am

    Today morning, when I got wake up, I stared at today’s newspaper. It was shocking that Honda is recalling is car “Civic”. I was thinking, how many customers will suffer by this compaign and how long..

    As I discussed earlier, its a new trend to recall products to change spare parts.

    But, why this happens..

    Why companies does not check quality of products and why they think about these either after many feedbacks through customers or many unpleasant accidents. You have seen this in case of Nokia.

    Why goverment is not taking measure to check basic quality of products and why companies add tag QA Ok to products with major faults.

    After all this scenario, company official comes out and make some statement mentioned below:

    Chinese-made products have been the subject of several high-profile recalls in 2007, but the latest comes from Canada and is a lot more significant than a toy with too much lead in its paint.

    Honda Motor Company announced plans to recall more than 180,000 Civics from the 2006-2007 model year Friday, in an attempt to fix a wheel-bearing seal that could lead to a wheel falling off the car.

    Honda spokesman Richard Jacobs says all of the Civics were produced in Alliston, Ontario and that 80 per cent of the Honda vehicles are exported to the U.S.

    The concern is that the seal where the antilock brake sensor is mounted to the rear wheel bearing might allow moisture and salt to leak in and cause corrosion.

    The recall was sparked by two related complaints, including one in which the wheel came off the vehicle while it was being towed, though no injuries have been reported.

    How long we face these type of problem and when we get assure after purchasing a product.. its really a question and a topic for long debate

  6. 6 Ashish September 17, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Nokia Replacement did not involve shopkeepers as Ish states, people who checked on the internet are sent their batteries by mail [well I haven’t heard from any actually] whereas others could swap theirs at Nokia Care. Retailers were not involved actually. I’m not blaming Nokia or defending the retailers but these guys get so less profit margins that something like this could totally kill them.

    My advice? Buy china! 😛

  7. 7 Poonam Sharma September 18, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    @Ramesh: I agree with the first part of your comment: “I feel that instead of anymore law for the cause, we need the implementation of existing laws with soul and heart. India is a country of “Rich laws” with “Poor Execution”. If we execute existing laws, we can find what new laws are needed.

    As for the second part (company, as a consumer of services from its employees), I am not so sure. I perhaps do not have enough information or data to gauge that. I am not sure if companies would fit the bill for definition of consumers. But you may have a point there.

    @Pawan and Ashish, you both have directly or indirectly made opposite recommendations….Pawn has written about recall about chinese products and Ashish cheekily says buy china. So which is to be: Bye China? or Buy China? 😛 You decide. 🙂

    P.S: Pawan, Thanks for the is latest news about recall of a chinese toy (16 sep):
    and another interesting news about recall of Dell laptop

    After a voluntary recall of dell batteries, New york sued Dell and it was alleged that Dell had prior knowledge of fault….Can’t see that happening in India yet 😦

  8. 8 Ashish September 20, 2007 at 4:24 am

    Well, I was joking actually. I said buy china because, you know they’re not going to live the life [no guarantees] whereas you pay extra for “branded” products where you are MADE to believe they live extra and die the same death. lol.

    But, nobody’s in their sane mind if they ever buy something on my recommendations!

  9. 9 Poonam Sharma September 23, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    Hey Ashish, thanks for clarifying 🙂 there are so many more gullible readers like me who cud take up your advice on their face value 😛

  1. 1 December 24: National Consumer Rights Day « Visceral Observations Trackback on January 5, 2009 at 4:48 pm

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